Video: Metrolink Positive Train Control System

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In a post earlier today we told you about a $6.6 million federal grant to help fund Metrolink’s efforts to install Positive Train Control (PTC) along its commuter rail system.

But what is PTC exactly? This informative video from Metrolink features some nice computer animation that explains how system works.

In a nutshell: a network of computers and GPS technology connect trains, signals and central offices to ensure the safest possible operation of trains.

4 replies

  1. As far as I can tell, the engineer will NOT have a screen with local train traffic on it. This would be a huge mistake. We cannot completely rely on technology outside the locomotive to keep the trains from colliding. What if one of the sensors is down at a switch? We must empower the engineers as well and give them information – they are like captains; airplane captains, sea captains, etc.. Check out this website:
    If every locomotive in America had a transponder, engineers could keep tabs on surrounding traffic. Each system is like a thousand bucks.

  2. Connor, ML does not need to double-track its entire system to increase its current efficiency. ML has not even come close to maximum track utilization. Furthermore, MLs service closely follows the commute patterns of those who live in the counties it serves. The train schedule is not sporadic. It mirrors the overall traffic patterns we see here in the LA area.
    Lastly, commuter rail is rather expensive to operate. ML can’t justify new service patterns based solely on one-way or round-trip ticket purchases. 70% of ML fare revenue comes from monthly and 10-trip pass holders. These are the commuters who help keep the railroad in business.
    ML also pays the BNSF and UP for train service over their respective territories. ML can’t simply add train service to help out those ticket (non-pass) holders who want to engage in inconsistent travel.

  3. Good, now the next step is to double track the system so that frequency and efficiency can be increased, therefore providing trains at regular intervals throughout the day, which would serve many, many more people. Currently the trains stop running way to early in the day and the frequency is oddly sporadic and not often enough for enough people to want to use it or be able to use it for getting places (so the “not-enough-ridership-to-justify” card really can’t hold water here.

  4. I wonder if they can start to offer free Wi-Fi in all Metrolink trains with this technology?